Published on 365Bristol.com
In my Meet the Creatives of Bristol series, I scout the city for locals who work in a variety of creative fields. Whether they are at the early stage of their career, or are well-established, they represent the artistic city that Bristol is; vibrant, diverse and inspiring.
This time I caught up with Vicki Leach, a furniture, lighting and product designer based in Bristol.
Originally from the Isle of Man, Vicki moved to the city a couple of years ago after growing increasingly tired of life in London and the future prospects of living there.
Vicki is the Design Manager of Deadgood Designs, a company that specialises in contemporary furniture for commercial interiors such as; BBC, Google and WeWork offices. Deadgood is based in London but Vicki operates out of her space at Spike Island studios; Spike Design. She enjoys working remotely and within a creative environment alongside likeminded people. Spike Island occupies a wide range of creative businesses, who all co-exist together under one roof.
Vicki’s currently working on launching a chair at Clerkenwell Design Week in London in May, as well as developing a modular sofa for launch in September. Always busy, she also has her own design practice on the side which she allocates about 5% of her time to. Last year, her timber ‘pub chair’, made for a company called Sitting Firm, was featured in the Sunday Times. An extremely talented individual, Vicki designs many products for the Deadgood collection and produces drawings to send to manufacturers across the UK. She also manages designs by the in-house design team as well as external designers to collate their ideas into production for the company.
The Deadgood design process begins with a brief, material or a specific insight from a piece of research.
Then, further research commences as they start to sketch the initial ideas. From the original concepts, a select few make it to product development where they make models and samples of the product before scaling and testing.
Once satisfied with the final outcome, they then take the product to exhibitions for marketing. After this, the larger production begins.
“Because our collection is so eclectic, we’re never usually pinned down to just one material or process and we like to experiment with different things all of the time. We work with metal, timber and glass etc so each material requires it’s own artisan craftsperson specific to each one. We work closely with manufacturers all over the UK and we’ve built up relationships with them meaning we can have things customised or made quickly. A lot of our collection is put into many commercial projects for the biggest names in tech and commerce so for them to have something customised to their exact specification and made in the UK is a big bonus for them. We also work with many emerging and established designers across the country to produce their products under our own umbrella.”
To add to her already revered list of design practices, Vicki also runs a small bedroom company with her wife called Two Girls Co. They sell “Designers Rule” enamel pins on Etsy and send them all over the world.
“It’s a bit of a passion project. We’re just about to launch a limited-edition pin where £2 from every pin sold is being donated to local schools in the form of design materials and books. We have a bit of a drive for promoting design in the UK, especially where our government is not giving the recognition to the creative industries.”
Aside from her work, Vicki has been guest lecturing at UWE to MA students. She shares with them, her expert advice and gives a professional insight into the industry, helping them to gain direction after graduation.
“I believe promotion of the design industry starts at education and will ultimately benefit this great city!”
Check out Deadgood here.
Take a look at Two Girls Co here.